I guess he was a big fan. WWE is a weird place as you never know how long someone is going to be around. No matter how big of a star you might have been at one point, the company might move on from you at any given point, which can make for some surprising changes. Other times though, the company is loyal to a fault, which was the case with one of its all time legends.
Back in the 1990s, there were very few stars on the level of Shawn Michaels, who was the top start in the company for a rather long stretch. That is hardly the biggest surprise as Michaels was one of the most talented in-ring performers of all time with one instant classic after another. However, a back injury in January 1998 put him on the shelf for over four years. It turns out that he had a little help from WWE during that hiatus.
During a recent edition of his Grilling JR podcast, Jim Ross revealed that Vince McMahon paid Michaels $750,000 a year during his hiatus, during which Michaels did not wrestle a match for the company. Michaels did serve as the Commissioner in limited appearances from 1999 – 2000 before returning to the ring in August 2002. During the hiatus, Ross would ask about Michaels’ contract but was told to forget about it as McMahon was going to continue paying him.
Michaels did wrestle a match during his WWF hiatus. Check out a match you might not have seen before:
Opinion: This is as McMahon of an idea as I can remember in a long time as it’s just the kind of thing he would do. Maybe it was out of loyalty or maybe it was over fear of Michaels going to WCW, but paying someone a pretty high salary to appear every few months is one of those things that you don’t see to often. Michaels was a legend, but that’s one of the weirder deals you will see.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!